How to get more done by multitasking
You may be familiar with arriving at the end of your day feeling as though you got nothing done. Being easily distracted and losing track of time means that there may be large blocks of time in your day that are completely unproductive. The ability to multitask, once hailed as the newest and most productive thing, was considered an asset. A few years later, however, studies showed that multitasking had the opposite effect, making people less productive. That may be true for those people without short attention spans, but it’s second nature for those who do have shorter attention spans. By learning to use your natural talent for multitasking, you can get more done and end your day feeling more productive.
What exactly is multitasking?
Multitasking is the act of doing more than one thing at once, such as writing out your bills for the month while having a conversation with someone. Catching up on reading while you are on the treadmill is multitasking, as is eating while you drive.
Why is it considered non-productive?
Many studies proved that productivity went down when people tried to focus their attention on more than one thing at a time. For people with short attention spans, however, that’s just how their brains work.
How can it help get more done?
Because your brain functions differently than that of someone without a short attention span, multitasking may make you more productive. The key is to choose one reasonably important task and add a somewhat mindless one to it.
When should people multitask?
The first thing you need to do is to start paying attention to the times when you are entirely unproductive. That may be while you are on the computer, watching TV, or even lost in thought. You may want to set a kitchen timer, or the alarm on your cell phone or computer, to go off every 30 minutes to remind you to check what you are doing. Once you identify your unproductive times, you can take on more activities that will help you get more done. For instance, you could fold the laundry while you are on the phone or watching TV, perhaps adding a load to the washer during commercials.
Keep a running list of things you need to do; highlight the ones you can do in 10 minutes or less, which might be easy to work in while you are making dinner or during odd moments in the day.
It is important to note that there are times when multitasking is not advised and can be dangerous. Driving your car, for instance, needs your whole attention. Cooking, especially when cutting food or using the stove, also demands your full attention. Multitasking is inadvisable here, although you could do so while cleaning the kitchen afterward.
The idea of multitasking, despite its bad reputation, may be the key for some people to get more done and be more productive. Pairing tasks that require more brain power with those that do not can be beneficial as long as you take care to avoid multitasking when full attention is needed.
We hope these tips on multitasking have helped!
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